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Our school holiday report: A+ for understanding

By Kelly Wilton

So, how were your school holidays? Depending on what part of the country you’re living in, the answer will be different for everyone, I guess! And, depending on what your family dynamic looks like, the answer will be different again. Perhaps there will be some some similarities, however – like the fighting?!

Ours? Well, apart from the usual fighting, eating, fighting, eating… and repeat, everything’s hunky dory!

If you don’t know us, my name is Kelly and my twins are Mikey and Jaz. Yes, I’ve asked for their permission to share their story, which is my story too, as I am the ringmaster in most of the circus shenanigans that happen around here!

I should also divulge that we live in South East Queensland, so we have been very, very – did I mention – very, fortunate to not have been affected a great deal by Covid lockdowns – apart from the snap lockdown that happened in the first half of the recent school holidays.

At times, I find myself wondering if things are changing in our lives, and on the challenging days I think, jeez, it’s like dealing with a couple of 4 year olds some days (my twins are nearing 10).  Of course, it’s not like dealing with 4 year olds at all, as 4 year olds at the best of times, don’t really give a hoot about you as a person!

Both Mike and Jaz have an intellectual disability, and despite being twins, they are quite different! Apart from the obvious gender factor, they have very different personalities which have contributed to shaping their individual strengths and abilities.

For example, Jaz is a real talker. She talked for her brother (when he was non-verbal) for years, although we couldn’t really understand her as she sounded like a little chipmunk. It was very endearing and luckily, they also have an older sibling – Katrina – who would decipher a lot of what Jaz was saying. So even though Jaz spoke for Mikey for many years, when he now has the chance to talk, he will come out with the most incredible things – a lot of the time it’s – ‘shut up Jaz!’.

As I mentioned earlier, in SEQ we had a little snap lockdown of 3 days. Every day the twins like to know what the state of play is. I’ve given up doing lists for them; they are both quite resilient in knowing that I can’t keep up with constantly updating them every time something changes – which it invariably does in our house! So, I have made a communication goal for them to ask me 25 times a day what we are doing, in what order, and how it’s going to look.

Mikey, upon me telling him it was lockdown – said ‘no, what Covid back again?’.

He would tell me over the holidays about all the places that were shut – ‘Movieworld shut, shops shut, batman shut, school shut, work shut’. Yes mate, that’s right. ‘Bloody Covid’ he would mutter under his breath (I swear he didn’t get that from me!)

When we re-emerged from our lockdown, he said to me – ‘no more Covid! Let’s go to shops!’ We had a little chat that there were still germs, and we had to wear masks and still wash hands and sanitise to keep safe.

He understood.

My 9 year old understood.

At 4, he would not have. He used to eat hand sanitiser (not kidding, he had extremely high sensory oral fixations with no aversion to any texture or taste).

So, in those moments of frustration which I have from time to time (ok daily) because of whatever challenging event is happening, and it feels like we’re stuck in the past; whether it be Covid, missing the latest episode of Bluey or running out of chicken nuggets, it’s nice to get a moment of reflection, where yes, we are moving forward.

Nothing stays the same, not even my nine year old twins who are growing and understanding the world as they see it, Covid and all. It’s a different time, and that’s ok. It’s ok to make the mistake of thinking it’s never going to change, the feeling of we are just continually going around in circles most days, like a stuck record.

But some days, we get a sign and we get that breakthrough we so often are looking for.

And no matter how big or small, these breakthroughs are there to remind us, that life does have a way of pushing us forward, at just the right time and just the right pace.

So if you haven’t had a breakthrough recently, have faith mama, you’re doing ok and it will come all in good time.

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